A herb garden is now blooming at the end of Ryde Pier, thanks to volunteers from Aspire Ryde.

Disused planters have been brought back to life by the association to brighten up the pier and support biodiversity. It is part of Wightlink’s Green Program, which includes large-scale initiatives to protect the environment.

Members of Aspire’s gardening team repaired and painted 16 planters at Pier Head and filled them with a variety of herbs including oregano, mint, parsley, thyme and rosemary . To add a little extra color, attract pollinators, and deter whiteflies, marigolds have also been mixed in.

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Once the herb garden is established, commuters will be invited to pick some herbs on the way home to use when preparing meals.

Graham Gillham, Gardening Coordinator at Aspire Ryde, says:

“We are really excited to be working with Wightlink to provide a community herb garden at the end of Ryde Pier. Our volunteers really enjoyed transforming the planters to create a new insect habitat, which not only looks great, but will also provide free herbs to the community.

Keith Greenfield, Managing Director of Wightlink, adds:

“We are really impressed with the work of Aspire who has partnered with them to create an animal garden at our Fishbourne terminal. It’s great to partner with them again to create a community herb garden on the pier. The volunteers have done a fantastic job and we can’t wait to see the new herb garden bloom.

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“The Green Agenda is extremely important to us. While we have invested heavily in major changes in the way we run our business – such as the introduction of our flagship hybrid energy product Victoria of Wight – smaller community projects such as this herb garden and the greening of Fishbourne all contributes to our goal of working in harmony with the environment.

Aspire Ryde’s gardening team operates as part of the “Growing Great Things” charity initiative funded by the People’s Health Trust. It aims to improve mental and physical well-being, reduce isolation and provide people with the opportunity to have fun and get to know new people.

The groups are led by a horticulturalist and volunteer and include a wide range of gardening activities, from sowing seeds and cuttings to making raised beds and pruning shrubs.

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Terri S. Tomasini